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EXCLUSIVE: Virgil Abloh Responds to Critics: “It’s Glaringly Obvious That I Stand With Black People”

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Virgil Abloh, one of the world’s most prominent Black designers, spoke exclusively with Fast Company staff writer Liz Segran about the Black Lives Matter movement, the criticism he has received in recent weeks, and his hope for the future.

Earlier this month, Abloh was accused of not showing enough support for the Black Lives Matter movement, after he expressed dismay at the looting of businesses and publicized an underwhelming donation to a bond fund.

“Our own communities, our own shops… this shop was built with blood sweat and tears,” he wrote on Instagram. Many people responded angrily that he seemed to be showing more concern for the business community than for those fighting for racial justice. Abloh explained to Fast Company that he struggled throughout his life to become a business owner himself, and one of his central goals now that he is a successful designer is to support other Black businesses. He apologized for his comments on Instagram, writing, “People who criticize ‘looting’ often do so as a way to make it seem like our fight against injustice isn’t legitimate. I did not realize the ways my comments accidentally contributed to that narrative.”

Abloh also posted an image of a $50 donation he made to an organization called Fempower that helped pay for the legal expenses of arrested protesters. This fueled even more anger, as people complained on social media that it was a measly sum for such a wealthy person to donate. Abloh insists it was a misunderstanding. “The goal was to say, ‘Get together with your friends and do what you can,’” Abloh says. “It was meant to say that no amount was too little to donate.” He later announced a donation of $20,500 to bail funds and other causes.

The fashion industry is notoriously racist. Within the Council of Fashion Designers of America, one of the industry’s most prominent trade organizations, only 3% of members are Black. So when Abloh was named artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, making him one of the only Black designers at the helm of a luxury fashion house, the fashion media celebrated his appointment.

Abloh understands the broader implications of his ascent. “I accept the circumstances of this position,” he says. “With great opportunity comes great responsibility. My goal is to lead by example.”

Abloh is part of a working group at Louis Vuitton that hopes to increase diversity internally. He describes himself as an optimist. He believes that we can undo systemic racism in his lifetime, and the current moment could push the fashion industry to tackle racial justice head on.

“I believe there’s going to be a Black Renaissance,” Abloh tells Fast Company. “Before I felt very alone in this struggle, but now, people are ready for change. The atmosphere is different.”

Elizabeth Segran, PHD., is a senior staff writer at Fast Company. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her work has been published in The Atlantic, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs and The Nation.

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Incredible Zigi and BTL Africa Set To Launch Maiden Edition Of Afrozig Dance Fiesta

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Grab your dancing shoes and get ready to be thrilled, as all is set for the world to witness the first of its kind dance festival in Ghana; Afrozig Dance Fiesta, a breathtaking dance event founded and created by multiple award-winning Dance sensation and Choreographer, Incredible Zigi.

To be held at the UPSA Auditorium on Saturday June 11, 2022 this maiden edition of Afrozig Dance Fiesta seeks to celebrate dance in Ghana and provide a platform where dancers can always look forward to expressing themselves through their craft.

Dance is evolving globally and the fraternity in Ghana is growing strongly due to its important role within the creative arts industry. Afrozig Dance Fiesta is an all-inclusive dance concert to be held annually and it shall feature communities / dance groups and individual dancers in the country.

As part of the fiesta, a section has been created themed “The Diva Dance Competition”. Its purpose will be to unearth a female dancer that would be groomed for a year by Incredible Zigi and enrolled on Afrozig Dance Movement. This is to encourage more female dancers and recruit them into the Ghanaian dance scene. This shall be judged by former world dancing champion Adjetey Sowah, legendary highlife singer and dancer Akosua Agyapong.

According to Incredible Zigi, the goal of Afrozig Dance Fiesta is to provide a platform where dancers will be groomed and held under a big umbrella where they can thrive. It will also serve as an avenue to offer huge inspiration and nurture upcoming dancers and empower existing ones.

There shall also be a Masterclass during the dance fiesta where these dancers shall be taken through branding, staying relevant and monetization of the dance craft among others with Adjetey Sowah and Akosua Agyapong leading the session.

The power-packed event will see performances from various dance icons including revered pioneers, who will provide support and direction. There will be a mix of musical performances from your favorite musicians such as Joey B, Medikal, Sefa, Kelvynbwoy, among others.

Afrozig Dance Fiesta is in partnership with BTL Africa and proudly sponsored by Guinness – Black Shines Brightest with support from Belaqua and Abrantie the gentleman and MX24 as the official media partner.

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Snoop Dogg and Steve Aoki Present New Group Alpha Doggz, Debut Collab EP ‘Da Da’

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West Coast rap legend Snoop Dogg and EDM pioneer Steve Aoki have teamed up to create a new duo Alpha Doggz and are announcing their debut EP titled ‘Da Da.’ The project is slated for release on May 23 exclusively on blockchain-based Gala Music and in partnership with seminal hip hop label Death Row Records.

 

Available today, Gala Music x Snoop Stash Box holders and the A0K1VERSE will each receive their own exclusive free song from the heavyweight duo–“Super Freak” ft. October London and “Holy Grail,” respectively. This coming Monday, May 23, the final three tracks from the EP will be available to the public: “Da Da,” “Girls” and “How I Do It.”

 

Each track off the new EP features the rap and EDM luminaries at their creative best; “Da Da” and “Holy Grail” are classic Steve Aoki club bangers, while “Girls” and “How I Do It” evoke Snoop’s unmistakable laid back groove. On “Super Freak,” old-soul singer/songwriter October London adds an intriguing jazzy layer to Alpha Doggz’ electric sound. Overall, Alpha Doggz represents the perfect marriage between Snoop Dogg and Aoki’s distinctive and addictive MOs.

 

This genre-spanning project is the first of many for Gala Music, which officially launched in February 2022. Gala has already partnered with internationally recognized artists across genres, including Snoop Dogg, Steve Aoki and Kings of Leon, to bolster new music releases and decentralize the world of music streaming.

 

In February, Snoop Dogg made headlines after acquiring Death Row Records and its catalog. During a Gala Music-hosted AMA with Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg remarked that Gala Music will be the exclusive place that Death Row lives in the Metaverse.

 

We plan on giving people access to buying and trading some of these classic songs, classic records that were the foundation of Death Row,” Snoop Dogg said during the AMA. “We [also] plan on bringing great music and great artists [to the label]. This is what Death Row is all about, trying to expand and take it to new regions.”

 

This upcoming NFT EP drop furthers both Aoki and Snoop Dogg’s ambition to leverage the Metaverse and spark a revolution in the music business by transferring power back to artists and away from traditional labels. For Gala Music, this release is an exciting step towards bringing decentralized music to the masses, providing the opportunity to expand the company’s reach across different genres by bringing these two major artists and Web3 pioneers together.

 

Full ‘Alpha Doggz’ track list:

  1. Holy Grail
  2. Da Da
  3. Girls
  4. How I Do This
  5. Super Freak ft. October London

 

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Coded blames 4×4 breakup on pressure from Shatta Wale to release hit songs

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Member of defunct 4×4 music group, Coded has finally revealed the reason why they decided to go their separate ways.

According to Coded, the group decided to go solo at the time where Shatta Wale was putting every artiste in the country on their toes.

Coded states that the pressure from Shatta Wale to release hit song after hit song prompted the group to go solo so they can match up to the “Dancehall King.”

“I think it would basically be the fact that was the era where a lot of singles were coming from Shatta Wale…that was the era where he was releasing countless hit records, like he would release a song today, give it max two weeks, he would release another song. So, that was putting a lot of musicians on their toes. You’re working but you are not working enough. You need to work harder, meet up to that level. And its good when it’s healthy competition so we decided that we need to do our solo projects so when we add it to the group projects,” he revealed in a recent interview.

4×4, the three man group — made up of Captain Planet, Fresh Prince and Coded — have been releasing only solo projects the past couple years.

Coded had stated in previous interviews that the decision to go solo was done collectively by the group after Fresh Prince brought the idea but at the time he wasn’t on board with it.

Although the group has not released any projects together and have fueled break up rumors, the leader of the group, Captain Planet insists they have not broken up.

“I am not happy myself hearing and reading comments from social media that we have broken up. I know that our fans expect us to be everywhere like we used to be but in life when you keep doing the same things over and over again, people become fed-up with you,” he told Graphic Showbiz in 2017.

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Captain Planet rubbishes Coded’s claims over why 4×4 went solo

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Member of defunct 4×4 music group, Captain Planet has rubbished claims by former group member, Coded that the reason they went solo was because of Shatta Wale.

Earlier today, Coded had revealed in an interview that the reason the group decided to go solo was because of pressure from Shatta Wale to release hit songs.

“I think it would basically be the fact that was the era where a lot of singles were coming from Shatta Wale…that was the era where he was releasing countless hit records, like he would release a song today, give it max two weeks, he would release another song. So, that was putting a lot of musicians on their toes. You’re working but you are not working enough. You need to work harder, meet up to that level. And its good when it’s healthy competition so we decided that we need to do our solo projects so when we add it to the group projects,”Coded revealed in the interview.

The interview has since gone viral and captured a lot of reactions. However, Captain Planet has shut down Coded’s claims stating that he does not know where they are coming from.

“Stop that rubbish it’s never true. I dnt know exactly what coded was trying to explain. May be he was talking for himself the reason he started doing his solo project . I showed the video to fresh prince this morning he was even laughing his lungs out,” Captain Planet reacted on Twitter.

See screenshot of his tweet below;

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“Pepper Dem Ministries” welcomes Nana Aba Anamoah to the “bitter side” over recent comments

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Some members of popular feminist group in Ghana, “Pepper Dem Ministries”, have called out ace-broadcaster Nana Aba Anamoah over recent comments she made about taking up traditional roles at home. (more…)

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Watch: Aisha Modi show of her post-surgery banging body on social media

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Aisha Modi has returned to social media by showing off her newly acquired body. (more…)

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